Tag Archives: Christmas

A Joyful Saturday before Christmas

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Christmas Eve is only three days away and I’m cuddled under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee. Sitting here surrounded by my pets, I’m making a mental list of things that need to be done. It will be a busy week with many great moments. Yet, my mind drifts and my focus blurs as I recall years gone by and Christmas celebrations in my life.

As a child I loved helping my mother decorate and bake Christmas goodies. Not only do the scents of Christmas treats fill my mind, but also the strong odors of wood chopped by my father on those cold days we gathered firewood, and of the smell of a fresh Christmas tree harvested from “back forty” of my paternal grandmother’s farm. Christmas at church included going door-to-door singing Christmas carols in scarves and mittens made by mom. I sat in church with my maternal grandmother and listened by her side about what Christmas really meant. Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my paternal grandparents. My father’s four sisters lived away, so most Christmas Eve celebrations were at our home. We were allowed to open one gift and after dinner enjoyed fireworks bought by my parents. On the years that my aunts were in town, the celebration was larger and more exciting with cousins. The evening always ended with a ride around town to enjoy decorations and Christmas lights. Christmas morning was so exciting. After we opened our presents, we traveled all the way across the street to my maternal grandmother’s home for Christmas lunch and presents. When the day was over, I remember my mother feeling melancholy that Christmas was over until the next year.

As a teen Christmas was a little different, but still exciting. There were dances and parties to attend, and boyfriends that stole Christmas kisses under the mistletoe. One Christmas I went to the Blue-Grey Game with my high school band, where music my band director had helped me arrange was played on national television. Unknown to me at the time, this would be a transition into my adult life.

As a young adults Christmas meant juggling four sets of grandparents and two sets of parents. It was exhausting. Yet, today I wish I had that problem. It would be nice to spend time with each person who is no longer with us. From our very first Christmas together, we collected a special ornament each year related to where we were in our lives. Once our children were born, we kept some traditions and started some of our own. The traditions would continue to change with time. My husband and I had so much fun shopping for gifts for the children, and watching their faces as they opened their presents. Every year we watched Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and counted our blessings. When the children grew older they were involved in Christmas pageants, handbells and acolyte activities at church. During their teen years we changed our tradition at home to opening presents after midnight mass at church. It made the kids happy, and we were able to get a little rest. Two of my fondest memories were of our son being Crucifer on Christmas Eve during his senior year of high school and our daughter playing the role of Mary in the Christmas pageant, when she was a little girl.

When our children left home, we celebrated college graduations, engagements, weddings and pregnancies. Hanging the Christmas ornaments became a nostalgic walk into the season. As grandparents with an empty nest, we still enjoy midnight mass on Christmas Eve. What better way to celebrate! We also look forward to our parents, children and grandchildren joining us on Christmas Day.

Last year, Christmas followed Hurricane Michael and celebrating was among the ruins. Despite the obvious, we celebrated. This year I have fallen behind. Less than a week to prepare and all I have accomplished is shopping, wrapping and attending parties. My husband is struggling, as well. He took the day off to finish putting a swing set together for the grandchildren. While we plan to attend midnight mass, it will be in the Parish Hall, because our House of Worship is still uninhabitable.

The angel of the Lord said “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Have you ever thought about what “great joy” means? It’s not just happiness and fond memories. Despite the fact that it was a gift from the angel, we have to choose joy to enjoy it. Then, with the happiness we experience a peace that is far beyond our imaginations.

Our church recognizes the Liturgical Calendar. The season that we are in now is called Advent. The Christmas season actually starts with Christmas. Advent is a time of self exploration and penitence, but it also a time of joyful expectation. Christ is the “Prince of Peace” and his coming joy is a choice that we all need to accept. Even when we may have sorrow in hearts about people who are no longer here, or those who will be leaving us soon, and even when we long for carefree days gone by, we have the choice. As the seasons in our lives change, so does the peace that comes with the choice of joy.

Enjoy your Saturday and choose joy! May God bless you!

Try Something New Tuesday – Christmas Reflections

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:26-38‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Tuesday after Christmas Day!  According to Wikipedia, today is Boxing Day, which is a secular holiday in Europe where the banks are closed.  It is also known as  St. Stephens’s Day on the liturgical calendar, which is the second day of Christmastide (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_Day).

I hope your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations were wonderful.  We celebrated Christmas Eve by riding through town and enjoying the Christmas lights.  Then, we attended the midnight Christmas Eve service at our church.  The service began at 10 pm with Christmas carols, and handbells.  The church service followed.  We have many gifted singers and musicians in our church.  The music brought tears to my eyes.

 

 

 

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Then, the sermon touched my heart.  It was about how God uses ordinary people, like us, to do extraordinary things.  Mary was a young girl.  She didn’t live in a palace, but God chose her to bring His son into the world.  I have often thought of how hard it must have been emotionally, and how others must have mocked and scorned her.  Joseph didn’t have an easy path either.  His fiancé was expecting and the baby wasn’t his.  Yet, he cared for her and Jesus by stepping up to the call.  I also, thought of the young boy, David, who in faith fought and killed Goliath.  Jeremiah was probably under the age of 25 when he answered God’s call.  He said “behold, I cannot speak; for I am a child” (Jeremiah 1:6).  Yet, God gave Jeremiah the tools he needed.  So, when God calls us, we also need to step up.  If God only used people who didn’t have struggle in their life, why would anyone else have faith?  We would probably believe we could never measure up.  The world might be about keeping up with Joneses, but God is different.  Remember, on Palm Sunday people were expecting a worldy King riding in on a white stallion, but Jesus rode in on a donkey.

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The service ended at midnight. As is the tradition in our church, candles were passed out to everyone attending the service.  After communion, the candles were lit from the aisle.  Each person lit the candle of the person beside them.  The Church lights were turned out.  Kneeling in candlelight, everyone sang Silent Night.  While the service is past my bedtime and I know what to expect, every year I am glad I attended.  Attending the service with my husband was my favorite Christmas gift.

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Christmas morning, after very little sleep, my husband treated our family to Christmas brunch.  His parents, our children and grandson were with us.  It’s always exciting watching the excitement of Christmas through the eyes of a child.

 

 

 

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I look forward to reading about your Christmas celebrations.  If you are working today, or returning gifts, be patient and kind.  Be the person who lights up the room with God’s love.  God bless you!

 

 

Cheerful Work

Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too difficult or too wonderful for You–
‭‭JEREMIAH‬ ‭32:17‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Good Morning!  Every day we are one day closer to Christmas.  Are you beginning to feel anxious about commitments, money, time, and gifts?  You are not alone.  One answer is to do everything for God.

This morning I woke up, looked around and wanted to go back to bed.  Every night this week I came home late, and our home is a mess.  I have a stack of presents to wrap.  I have yet to decorate the house, and oh boy do my joints hurt.  I know you must be  thinking, well, this post is a little different.  I can tell you that all my grumbling didn’t make me feel any better. 7B390ED0-DC39-4E5A-8AB5-D6D6447D6B5F So, my plan is to put on some Christmas music to lift my spirit, and get busy.  It’s amazing what I can accomplish when I stop complaining and feeling sorry for myself.  Let me add one more point.  Talk to God while you work.  If you are having fun dancing, singing and talking to God, the time will fly.  You won’t feel like you worked on your day off either.  Most of all, remember why we celebrate Christmas.

I challenge you today to take on all the dreaded tasks with a cheerful heart.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Come to the Table

Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.   Luke 22:42

It’s Forgiveness Thursday and a great day to get right with God and others.

Have you ever felt like you had to choose between your family and doing what you thought was right? I know I have, and it’s incredibly painful regardless of the reason, because as children we want our parents to always accept and love us.  It can be devastating to lose your family because you need to do the right thing.

Last night I was reading about the blood covenant between David and Jonathan in I and II Samuel.  Saul was the King of Israel and Jonathan was the crown prince.  David, who came from a peasant family, had killed Goliath and become a general in Saul’s army.  Jonathan and David became good friends, and overtime they realized that they both loved and sought the will of God.   So, The two entered into a blood covenant.  Jonathan, the maker of the covenant, gave David his robe, armor, bow, sword and belt as gifts.  This covenant was more than a promise between friends.  It was a pact between families intended to cover future generations.  However, their descendants would have to renew the covenant to keep it active.

Over time King Saul was disobedient to God, and was jealous of David’s popularity.  So, David was forced to flee into the forest.  Jonathan and David reaffirmed their covenant and Jonathan protected David from his father, who was obsessed with murdering David.  King Saul’s obsession reaffirmed Jonathan’s commitment to David, because he realized that God had chosen David to be king.

The two young men grew up and married, and Jonathan became a father.  Isreal’s enemies, the Philistines, attacked and both King Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle.  The area became violent and Jonathan’s children, the princes were hidden.  One of Jonathan’s sons, Methibosheth, was dropped on the pavement when the royal nurse was trying to escape. his legs were crushed.  David became King and searched for the family of Jonathan, so he could extend the covenant to Jonathan’s children.  No one would tell King David the family’s location, because they thought the King would surely harm the young princes.

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After many years of searching, the young Methibosheth was found and brought to King David.  The young man had been taught by King Saul’s family to hate David.  However, David loved Methibosheth as if the young man was his father, Jonathan.  David extended the covenant onto Methibosheth.  So, Methibosheth had to make a decision between going back to his family or staying with King David and losing all that he loved.  Despite his vulnerability from being physically handicapped in both legs, he took a chance and stayed with David.  David loved and cared for Methibosheth as if he was one of his sons.  Great story.

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Christ’s covenant story is similar in some ways.  He was a descendant of Adam.  He turned away from the family of Adam, and entered into a covenant with God as our representative, which was carried out with his blood shed on the cross.  The good news is His sacrifice allows us to be a member of a different family, the royal family of God.  When we participate in communion, we are sitting at the royal table and soaking up the love of God, our Heavenly Father.

So, today remember, if you have had to walk away from your family, for whatever reason, you are still loved and adored by your Heavenly Father.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – God Fulfills

He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.  Psalm 107.9

Happy Thursday!  It’s  a great time to practice forgiveness.

Have you ever felt empty?  Have you felt like no matter what you do, you can’t find happiness?  Is being content something you can’t seem to wrap your mind around?  Are you an overachiever, a workaholic, a perfectionist or something similar?  Do you feel you have to fill every moment of the day with an activity?  Do you dread quietness?  I know how you feel.  There is only one thing that can fill that hole,  God.  You can try everything you can think of, but I promise nothing will fill that hole but God.  Start your day with God and put God first all day long, and he will fill the emptiness in your soul.

God bless you,

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Radiate God’s Love

We can’t always see where the road leads, but God promises there is something better up ahead we just have to trust him.  Psalm 56:3

Happy Wednesday!  It’s a great day to Use Your Gifts to Change the World!  So, what will you do?

Do you ever feel like you are unable to make positive change?  Do you feel like the world is too big?  Then, I have good news.  The smallest of changes are viral in the scheme of changing the world.  Whenever you do something as simple as smiling at someone having a bad day, the results are beneficial, and that’s not all.  Positive changes grow exponentially.  Yesterday, I actually heard a very nice lady, who collects items for children in need, say that she had so many people donate that she had to create a new list of items to prevent sending volunteer donors away.  She was also taking overflow donations to other agencies.  Isn’t that great!  That’s how it should be.  When we work together to help society, government doesn’t have to.  As I’ve said so many times before, changing the world doesn’t have to involve donations or money.  You can smile, give a friend a hug, tell the manager of a restaurant or store about an employee who is doing a good job, leave a note, and the list goes on and on. There is no limit to what YOU can do.

As you go out into the world today, start at home and radiate.  Make a difference everywhere you go.  God bless you.

Try Something New Tuesday – The Mix Match Game

But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.

It’s Try Something New Tuesday!  A few weeks  ago I began a new health journey through Noom Coach.  This seems to be working for me.  I just started week three and I’ve  lost about 15 pounds.  I’ve also been making healthier food choices and exercising more.  Every day I try something new, which keeps the program fresh.  I don’t just mean that I try new recipes or exercises, but I try new ways to conquer cravings and other temptations.

Life is similar.  Sometimes we get in a rut of going through a day-to-day routine, which can wreak havoc on our relationships and our self-esteem.  We can get so caught up in what we are focused on that we lose who we are and what we believe in.  At the end of the day we don’t feel like we  have enough time to enjoy life.  We may not even think we are worthy of God’s love.  Always remember that God thinks you are beautiful. You are his child and he loves you.

One way to prevent burnout and getting caught up in every day  life routines is to look at your tasks differently. Noom Coach teaches to make a list of the “have to’s” and the “want to’s” in your life.  Then mix match combinations on the list.  I know this was intended for food and exercise, but why couldn’t you use it in general life.  For example,  if taking the kids to ball practice is on your “have to”  list, and paying it forward is on your “want to” list, why not pick up other kids going to practice on the way and relieve another parent.  If you have been wanting to read your Bible, but you can’t find time before or after work, take your lunch to work with you and find somewhere quiet to read. There are endless possibilities for work and home.

Remember, variety is the spice of life.  I can’t wait to read what you plan to try.  God bless you.

The Unique Partnership of Prayer and Faith

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  Matthew 21:22

 Today, I am so excited and wish to thank Christi B. author of “Women Who Inspire” for spotlighting Hisperfecttiming! Christi spotlights inspirational women who make a positive impact. This is what she wrote on Friday.

Isn’t that great!  Wow!  I’m so blessed that Christi thought of Hisperfecttiming! I wish that I could take the credit, but God works through my life and work.  I’m so thankful to Christi and all readers and followers!  I pray you are all blessed as much as I am and more!

I saw a Facebook post this morning that caught my attention.  It said “if you woke up this morning with all that you prayed for yesterday, where would you be.”  Where would YOU be?

I’ve noticed that many people get caught up in the “how to” of prayer.  I understand fully, because I’ve been there.  I have been to prayer classes, where books have been passed out on what to pray for in various situations.  I have read books trying to understand how to pray publicly and what to pray.  I’ve listened closely and memorized prayers that I thought were especially nice,  I’ve  asked for feedback.  While some of this was helpful, none was enough.  I would pray freely in private, but publicly I would choke.  My mind would go blank.  Have you ever been there?  I am still growing spiritually and I’m in no way an expert, but I have some ideas on the subject of prayer.

First, in order to pray effectively, you must have faith. Prayer is simply talking to God. I talk to God like I talk to you, my friends.  How can you effectively pray, or talk to God, if you don’t believe?  If you are praying and you don’t believe in God, to whom are you talking or trying to impress?  God knows your heart.  you must first trust and believe in him.

Second, as I stated above, prayer is talking to God.  No matter where you are, or what you are doing, you can talk to God.  It can be silently.  No one has to know your private conversations.  I pray throughout the day.  I can’t imagine going an entire day without prayer.  I’ve recently decided that instead of speaking privately to others, I would just begin and end with God.  I’ve also found it especially helpful to pray for people who are hurtful.  Ask God to bless them.  This sounds a little strange, but I promise it works every time.  I sometimes pray that the right people will be brought into a loved one’s or friend’s life, who will bring that person closer to God and help them to make good decisions.  We just can’t be all things to all people.

Third, when you pray publicly, just talk to God and don’t worry about impressing others.  That’s easier said than done when you are put on the spot, right?  Take the focus off of you, and put the focus on God and helping others.  Sometimes a brief pause to gather your  thoughts will help, too.  You should pray about something related to why you are with whoever you are with and what you are doing.  For example, are you at a mealtime meeting?  Pray about making good decisions and your thankfulness for the food.

I once saw a handy guide to prayer.  The guide used the word — BLESS.

B- Body

L- Labor

E- Emotional

S- Social

S- Spiritual

The way this works is, you think of at least one thing in each category to pray about.  If you know in advance that you will be leading prayer, you can write it down. If not, you will probably be able to come up with something quickly.  I also jot down names of people who are sick, so that I can include them in my prayers.

Fourth, I always thank God first.  I try not to just continuously ask for something.  I am truly blessed and thankful.  I pray regularly before each meal, in the mornings before work, and at night before I go to sleep.  From time to time I suffer from insomnia and talk to God until I doze off.  However, regular prayer does not keep me from talking to God throughout the day.  My husband reminds me every day to enjoy my present.  He means the present moment.  Living in the present is something to be thankful for, as well.

Fifth, I have heard that God loves to hear his word.  I think this originates from Jesus using God’s words when dealing with the devil.  So, I read and meditate on my Bible, and try to do the same.  It’s a great way to glorify God.  As Third Day sings “the grass will wither and flowers will fall, but the word of our God will last forever.”  I also pray before bible study, my classes, my blogs,  and church, because I want to have an understanding of God’s word and be able to reflect it in my life.

Sixth, don’t forget to repent.  Admit to and ask God for forgiveness of all the mistakes you made throughout each day, and then forgive others.  I usually ask for forgiveness after I thank God for my blessings, but you decide what works for you.  I also send up prayers as soon as I realize I’ve done something wrong, because by the end of the day I may forget.  I’ve decided that forgetfulness that comes with age is also a blessing sometimes.

Seventh, ask God to help you with temptations.  Trust me when I say, I have many. I pray for help with temptations all day long. Isn’t it great to know that we  don’t have to fight the devil alone!  God is always by my side.

Finally, the more you pray, the more comfortable you will be with praying.  Similarly, the more you pray publicly, the more comfortable you will be with leading public prayer.  There all types of tips, books and ideas to follow on how to pray, but I encourage you to keep it simple.  God loves you and knows where your heart is.

Take time to talk with God today.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Enjoy the Moments and Teach God’s Word

A righteous man who walks in his integrity – how blessed are his sons after him.   Proverbs 20:7

It’s Forgiveness Thursday.  Of course, we can and should take time every day to forgive ourselves and others as Christ has forgiven us.  The title is just a reminder to stop and get right with God.  When we refuse to forgive others, we only hurt ourselves.  So let the pain sail away today, and turn to God for help.

When I think back to when my children were growing up, I often regret not being there for them and providing them more.  It was always my dream to be a stay home mother like my mom, which is not always possible in today’s world.  So, I worked.

My daughter has told me that I came home from work and took my bad day out on them.  I hate the way that sounds, but it is probably true.  I have asked God and my children to forgive me.  What happened to me and might have happened or may be happening to you is I was working long hours, going to graduate school, taking care of the house and trying to be a mom.  Being a mom included taking the children to dance, band, or whatever else they had going on, ensuring homework was done, feeding the children and making sure they had showers and clean clothes, and also making sure they went to church.  That is quite a bit to juggle.  My husband helped but he was working two jobs and was exhausted.  So, like many people, we did the best we could.  Then, time slipped up on us and our children left home.

Is there ever enough time?  Sometimes I think God keeps us busy, so we won’t dwell on the passing time, because one day we have to let our children leave and find their way.  I tried like crazy to slow down the clock, but our children still grew up.  So, what I’m trying to say is, if you feel like your best wasn’t enough when you were raising your children, quit torturing yourself because most people feel the same way.  We all do the best we can.  The good news is you may be given another opportunity to make a difference with your grandchildren.

If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or just someone who influences a child, teach them Bible verses, prayers, and Bible stories. Take them to church and church functions.  Answer their questions and lead by example.  The mind of a child is quick and absorbs everything around.  If you want to make a difference in the world, start here. Guess what?  Your marriage and family will be blessed along the way.

Today, as you forgive yourself and others, be a positive Christian influence on the children in your life.  God bless you.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Just Do It

Rise up, take courage and do it!   Ezra 10:4

Good Morning!  Camels are happy all over the world today!  Can you believe it is Wednesday already?

Just about every Wednesday I encourage you to use your gifts to change the world, and I have discussed how we all have different gifts.  Have you ever wondered what can I do?  How can I make a difference?  There are opportunities everywhere.  A couple of weeks ago on Friday, I discussed ways to “pay it forward” and encouraged you to try.  I always try to do whatever I write about, but that  particular Friday, I was super busy.  So, I took a twenty-dollar bill to the local utility counter and asked the nice lady to use it to help someone who in her opinion really needed financial assistance.  Last week I heard back that the money assisted two families that were in need.  I tell you this because the gesture took less than five minutes and the stories I heard brought tears to my eyes.  How many times do we waste twenty bucks on fast food or junk that we never use?  This week in our office one of the ladies on my staff collected money to help needy children with school supplies.  Again, it did not take much money to make a difference. I think ten dollars a piece helped two children.

If you are saying I can’t even spare ten dollars, I have good news for you.  You can help someone who is in a hurry by giving them your place in line at the store.  One thing I try to do is be a resource to people and that doesn’t cost money.  All I do is listen, and try to help them find the information that will assist with their concern.  This is super easy and incredibly helpful.  How about leaving someone a note to let them know you care.

As you can see there are opportunities to use your gifts to help others everywhere you look.  All that remains is to just do it.  So as you go through your day, help others.  I can’t wait to read what you have done or plan to do.  God bless you.